The Arrow Chest by Robert Parry is a beautifully written story. It gathers you in with a tale that is at once haunting and mysterious. I have to say that I just love this beautiful cover as well and I think it fits with the story perfectly!
The year is 1876. We’re in London and the story opens with Amos, a struggling artist, at the Tower of London having been called there to sketch some bones that have been discovered. It is said that they are the bones of Anne Boleyn who had been put in an Arrow Chest and buried and forgotten there along with Lady Jane Grey and Catherine Howard. While there Amos experiences some ghostly events that quite simply scare him!
Amos is a painter and has been commissioned by Oliver Ramsey, a powerful man that his life long love Daphne married, to paint a portrait of him. Daphne and Amos have been friends since they were children and had always been close; Daphne had been Amos’ muse for years. He hasn’t seen Daphne in over a year and he’s anxious but he needn’t have been. As soon as they meet again it’s like they had never been parted. As Amos spends more time with Daphne he learns that she is in a loveless marriage. Daphne tells him that she is sure that her husband is trying to get rid of her as she doesn’t seem able to produce an heir for him. Will he manage to drive her over the edge?
Daphne also has an attraction to spirits and loves to try to contact them. This makes Amos extremely uncomfortable since his episode in the Tower. Adding to it he keeps seeing a woman who looks exactly like Daphne but can’t possibly be. Not to mention that ghostly figure of a man he keeps meeting that nobody else sees. Could it be that he is losing his mind? Then there are those strange and haunting dreams he keeps having? What could they mean? Are they omens of things to come?
The characters in this book were fantastic, especially Amos, Daphne, and Beth – Amos’ maid. Amos is such a passionate man who realizes too late how much he loves Daphne. Not that it would have mattered though as he wasn’t the ‘right’ type of man for her to marry. Daphne seemed to me the type of woman you would be drawn to with her mysterious nature. Beth was young girl when she came to work for Amos and it was interesting to see her character grow. She had no family and completely doted on Amos and in return he treated her well – more like an equal than a maid.
I found parts of The Arrow Chest a bit slow but it always picked up and kept me reading. I loved the link to the story of Anne Boleyn and found the way the ghostly happenings were woven into the book fascinating. The writing is beautiful. Robert Parry has a wonderful way with words and his descriptions of people and place are so vivid that you feel sure you’re living in this tale as well. I think anyone who likes historical fiction would enjoy this book but I think it would appeal to a wider audience as well with it’s haunting and dark side.
I read The Arrow Chest by Robert Parry for his book tour with Premier Virtual Author Book Tours. You can see the other tour stops here. You can buy The Arrow Chest by Robert Parry here in the US and here in Canada. Be sure to pop by tomorrow when Robert Parry joins us with a guest post!
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